A tightening of border requirements between Macau and Guangdong Province due to an increase in COVID-19 infections will undoubtedly put the brakes on Macau’s recent recovery, according to investment bank JP Morgan.
The Macau government outlined over the weekend new requirements for anyone traveling to the SAR from Guangdong Province, which has recorded almost 100 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 since the start of June – most of them in the cities of Guangzhou and Foshan. Those requirements include provision of a negative test result obtained within the past 48 hours as opposed to the previous seven days, while anyone who has visited certain districts in either city inside the past two weeks must enter hotel quarantine in Macau for 14 days.
JP Morgan analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi and Livy Lyu said Macau’s gaming operators would inevitably be impacted by the new regulations given that 61% of mainland Chinese visitors this year have been from Guangdong and more than 90% of all mainland arrivals via Zhuhai, with direct air travel into Macau comprising only 6% of arrivals.
“Tighter immigration policy from/via Guangdong will undoubtedly weigh on demand, putting a break in the respectable sequential recovery over the past six months,” they wrote in a Monday note.
“It also goes without saying that the long-awaited Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau travel bubble is unlikely to happen in the very near-term, at least not until Guangdong and Hong Kong report zero local cases for over two weeks.”
The analysts pointed out that Hong Kong is back to square one as far as Macau is concerned after recording two new cases over the weekend.
The setback comes just a week after Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) announced gross gaming revenues of MOP$10.45 billion (US$1.31 billion) in May, up 24.4% from April and the highest single month tally since January 2020.